The lack of small talk might be the keystone of Finnishness and it is something we should warn people more about. Making small talk is considered strange in Finland, especially in elevators. When in doubt, do not initiate small talk; a smile and small nod goes a long way.
But being Finnish is also so much more than some silly stereotypes. Being Finnish means that I can walk into any forest and set up a tent for the night. Being Finnish means that I can have any education I want. Being Finnish means that if I have a medical emergency, I do not have to worry about the expenses. Being Finnish is having choices.
When I was a kid, I used to dislike being Finnish, I thought it was a bit embarrassing. I thought that our culture is very plain and boring, and that Finnish language was the ugliest of them all. In my opinion Finland was unsophisticated, and uninteresting. I was so sure that I would move abroad the second I turn 18. Nowadays I get excited about buying my own skis or berry picker, I love the Finnish nature especially up in Lapland and I know that Finland is a country full of art and design. My view on Finnishness has changed significantly over the past few years.
As I mentioned before, I really am proud of being Finnish. I have really grown fond of this small country, and I have learned how to appreciate its uniqueness. I think these trivial things that equate as freedom for me is the reason Finland is ranked as the happiest country in the world year after year.